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Thyme 12-16-2011 03:39 PM

Mullen Mouth or French Link?
I have been having a hard time trying to get Fable engaged. She is an 11 yr old trail horse turn english for about 4 months now. Before she was rode in a long shank with her face up, she now rides with her head down but I am having a hard time getting her to allow me contact. I can push and push and she will either fling her head up or put her nose closer to her chest to avoid it grrr
I am currently riding her in a D-ring snaffle, and I want to try a softer bit, however I have gotten different people telling me different things, if i wanted to go softer then a snaffle do I go for a mullen mouth or a french link? I dont have the funds to buy both
Also, I have had her teeth check and there all good, she rides in contact fine when run around wild on trails lol, just when im trying to school that she is all nervous with the bit.
<3 thanks!

kitten_Val 12-16-2011 05:26 PM

Thyme, what do you mean by "snaffle"? :wink: French link is snaffle too. I assume you are talking about 2-link bit, not 3-link.

French link is a very mild bit (don't confuse it with Dr Bristol that looks a like but much harsher). Another one I could suggest is oval mouth (my mares seem to prefer oval mouth over french link, looks like this: JP Korsteel Oval Mouth Copper Loose Ring Snaffle Bit < Loose Ring Snaffle Bits|Dover Saddlery . ). Don't know much about Mullen as I've never tried it.

dcb 12-16-2011 05:30 PM

Why not just use a straight soft rubber bit?

Thyme 12-16-2011 05:46 PM

Yea, sorry I used a 2-link
I havent ever seen an oval mouth bit but that looks like, nice price too!
dcb: the mullen bits are the straight bits, they come regular or rubber
I just wasnt sure it seems her dicomfort is from the bending action, she does that jaw cross stuff, and just tries to open her mouth) to my understandind bits with 3 links dont do this like a straight bit, I just wasnt sure to go to a 3 link or a straight bit

Anyone know the clear cut pros and cons for a 3 link (french or oval mouth) Vs. a straight mullen? (rubber or reg)

Kayty 12-16-2011 05:55 PM

Bits are like saddles, no one can advise on exactly what will work because some horses hate bits while others will love them.

A little warmblood that I was riding for the owner earlier this year was terribly fussy in the mouth. I had him in a loose ring french link and he just chomped away at it constantly, tried to put his tongue over it etc. Tried him in a single joint and he was worse.
Finally put him in a mullen and he was a million times better. His mouth stayed quiet, I found that I could ride him more into the bridle and he would accept it.
HOWEVER, you can't ride in a mullen like you do in a jointed bit. It works as a single unit, as opposed to the jointed bits which can work on separate sides of the mouth.

Are you able to borrow a french link and mullen from someone? Often saddleries will allow you to trial bits before buying them. I strongly suggest you do this or you may end up with a bit that he is worse in than the current bit.

The other thing - is your riding. Are you accidentally jabbing him in the mouth, or riding with an unsteady contact? If this is the case, then it is understandable that a horse will vary from poking it's nose and tossing its head, to coming behind the bridle, to try and alleviate the discomfort.

Thyme 12-16-2011 06:16 PM

I can ask around and see what bits people have.
Although I am not a perfect rider, I dont think its my hands. I get dressage lessons with my paint and he hasnt fussed about my hands, and this is a horse that lets you know EVERYTHING that your doing wrong, (I got bucked off for gribbing with my knees and accidently leaning to the outside when asking for a lead change when we both starte in lessonss) so I cant imagine he would keep quiet.
Also with this mare I typically ride in a looser rein because she is so bit shy, and when I do go to add contact I add the pressure slowly but still as soon as I use both reins she opens her mouth (when the bit bends) which brings us here :)
thanks for the input!
when you say you cant ride in a mullen the same way what ezactly do you mean? I have only used one once on a pony I showed, I was riding it spur of the moment for the owner and I just rode as I normally did and the pony seemed fine

Kayty 12-16-2011 06:21 PM

Hmmmm if it is the nutcracker action of the jointed bits that worries her than maybe a mullen would be the way to go.

Mullens are a little different - because there is no joint, you can't independently use your reins say for flexion. Both reins need to be used together, I liked the mullen to 'scooping' the shoulders up with a fishing net. You need to think more of riding and directing the shoulders than directing the mouth.

Thyme 12-16-2011 06:27 PM

okay thanks! I am going to ask around and see what comes up.
I am going to see when i can get my vet out next also, she got her teeth done however I was advised to get her roof of her mouth check out, becuase her old people used a long shank bit with a higher port (great people really loved her, but not horsey and they used it because it was a pretty cowboy bit) like I said before they rode with constent contact so Fables head was always up and held back, the person that advised this said that in that case there could be damage to the roof of her mouth, however I have had her for 4 months and she wasnt ridden for 3 months before I got her, can there be permanant damage? Or is this more of a mental thing?
just wondering why she advised a "mouth roof" check.
if that makes sense lol
Thanks again really appreciate it!

Kayty 12-16-2011 06:30 PM

I think they may also be looking to see if she has a low pallet - some horses just can't take a jointed (particularly single jointed) bit because it hits them on the roof of the mouth when activated by the rider.

kitten_Val 12-16-2011 08:51 PM

Not every horse likes rubber in its mouth. Another suggestion would be happy mouth bits (that have a taste), but again it depends on horse. I agree with Kayty - bits are like boots (or saddles). You never know what horse may like. I tried 4 or 5 different ones before I stuck with what I use now.

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